Thomas Pynchon and American Counterculture (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture #170) (Hardcover)

By Joanna Freer

Cambridge University Press, 9781107076051, 220pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2015



Thomas Pynchon and the American Counterculture employs the revolutionary sixties as a lens through which to view the anarchist politics of Pynchon's novels. Joanna Freer identifies and elucidates Pynchon's commentaries on such groups as the Beats, the New Left and the Black Panther Party and on such movements as the psychedelic movement and the women's movement, drawing out points of critique to build a picture of a complex countercultural sensibility at work in Pynchon's fiction. In emphasising the subtleties of Pynchon's responses to counterculture, Freer clarifies his importance as an intellectually rigorous political philosopher. She further suggests that, like the graffiti in Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon creates texts that are 'revealed in order to be thought about, expanded on, translated into action by the people', his early attraction to core countercultural values growing into a conscious, politically motivated writing project that reaches its most mature expression in Against the Day.